Libs may think twice about cutting the defense budget when they hear about this.

Forget about the Halls of Montezuma and, for sure, the shores of Tripoli. What better use of a few good men and women than babysitting turtles?

There are about 500 “threatened” tortoises living in the Mojave Desert. The Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms is engaged in The Desert Tortoise Head-Start Facility project to protect the young tortoises from predators. It’s a $100,000 a year program funded by the Defense Department.

Marines protecting threatened desert tortoises

The slow-growing tortoises may need a year or more before they’re big enough to be released into the desert.

The tortoise is threatened by development, off-road vehicles, disease and predators, especially ravens. Tortoise experts say that more than 90 percent of young tortoises, whose shells are soft, fail to reach maturity.

Every Marine training at Twentynine Palms gets a video lecture about the animals, and troops are warned to halt training and notify the range master when a tortoise is spotted.
To avoid attracting ravens, Marines at the 600,000-acre base must pick up food litter and make sure that trash cans have raven-proof lids. Anti-raven pamphlets titled “Invasion of the Tortoise Snatchers” are handed out.

“If you don’t start somewhere, you’ll never get where you want,” said Marie Cottrell, natural and cultural resources officer for the base.

Other Mojave Desert military bases also have preservation projects.

Semper Fi

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10 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. Shifra says:

    First, they came for the California Delta Smelt, but I did nothing, because I do not live in California.

    Then, then came for the Mojave desert tortoises, but I said nothing, because I am not even sure where the Mojave desert is.

    Then, they came for my smoked salmon, and there was no one left to speak out for my bagel…

  2. deaves1 says:

    The USMC effort to protect the tortoises is a trade off with environmentalists wackos so they would not shut down the air/ground training range at “29 Stumps”. It keeps the environmentalist happy, and our Marine armor and air Marines may continue their live fire training.

  3. Teri says:

    Things have changed big time in my old stomping grounds. My family lived in Twentynine Palms from 1967-1969. My dad was in the Marines. I was a ten year old tomboy with two brothers. That desert was my backyard and there was not a better place to grow up in. In those two years my father was in Vietnam. He earned a Purple Heart. He was a gunner. My mom took care of us kids while my dad was defending our great country. I remember letters from dad asking me to be the ‘big daddy’ and take care of my mom until he got back home. My dad was my hero and I wanted to be just like him. I will let him know what is going on today in Twentynine Palms.

  4. sweetexp says:

    Semper Fi to all my TAM family friends,

    As Marine who has done extensive training at our Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Center in 29 Palms, I can say that the center is unique to our combined arms mission and I, for one, am glad Tammy is keeping us in mind;) We have had to tap dance around those endangered species on beaches in San Diego and the palms since I can remember… I’ve been active for over 15 years and it would have been sweet to have Mit Romney as our humble Prez and Commander in Chief.

    We/I am listening always and love the Pod Casts Tammy!!

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